Amateur and student orchestras in the Netherland

Wim Kuppen, July 7, 2003

In the Netherlands there a culture of good amateur ochestras. There are 2 rather good student orchestra's ("Sweelinck Orkest" of the University of Amsterdam, and "VU Orkest" of the Free University in Amsterdam). Other Universities have orchestra's wich vary from reasonable to lesser good. Besides this there is every year a national student ochestra and a national student chamber ochestra. Selected on auditions, existing only a few weeks for a concert tour. These orchestra's can be rather large, and play Mahler, Bruckner, Strawinsky Sacre du primtemps etc.
Besides the student ochestras there have emerged some other amateur ochestras for the people who are no student anymore. They have on audition selected players, former students or somtimes professionals who did not make plying the flute their profession, but became consultant or so. "Het Orkest" is such an orchestra, but there are two of these. And there is another good orchestra, "Philips Symphonie Orkest", wich uses hired professionals and well granted by the multinational Philips Electronics. Of course there are many lesser orchestra's. These orchestra's are not so large. But from time to time they enlarge temporarily to play a Mahler N.2, or even Strauss Alpensinfonie.

Apart from the larger orchestra's there some very nice amateur chamber orchestra's.

"Het Orkest" is fully amateurial. But a player has to be good enough on auditions. A conservatory student can play, but cannot become a member. Exeptions are made for conservatory people, who do not make their living as a musician. People who do not want to make an audition can be stand in, but can not become member of the orchestra.

As for funding we get some grants from the Local Authorities (e.g. the City of Amsterdam) wich is not enough. We pay membership of about 170 euroos annually. Besides this we sometimes play a payed accompanyment (like at the moment the Schubert Masses, en after summer Haydn Schöpfung). Sometimes we can have a sponsored concert.

When we play an interesting program, we can play in the Concertgebouw venue, because this is only worthwile when a lot people are coming. Last time for Mahler 2 the Concertgebouw was almost sold out (2000 listeners). Other programs (the most) we play in a smaller venue wich has about 650 seats.

Some links:, the VU Champerorchestra where I play., "Het Orkest", where I play also and which will visit Italy (site not quite up to date), (in Dutch), Het VU orkest, where I played for 22 years. I stopped this year after the Mahler 4 program. (alas also in Dutch), the Utrechtse Muziek Academie, another Chamber ochestra where I play, which once a year enlarges for open air concerts.
And of course you know the dutch horn society:

Concerti in Italia della "Het Orkest":
lunedì 14 luglio, h.21:00, Perugia, Chiesa di San Domenico
martedì 15 luglio, h.21:00, Firenze, Chiesa di Santo Stefano
venerdì 18 luglio, h.21:00, Arezzo, Open air concert

Wagenaar (compositore olandese), Overture "The taming of the Shrew" (La Bisbetica Domata)
Diepenbrock (compositore olandese), Suite Marsyas, "Entr'acte"
Shostakowich, Sinfonia N.10